Spiritual Discipline for Busy People

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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Let's put on our humanity for a second. Can we agree that sticking with Spiritual Discipline can be tough? What I call Spiritual Discipline, you may call quiet time. You also may call it devotional. Whatever we decide, sticking to spiritual discipline as a habit can be challenging. 

You and I know there are those among us who never fail at their Spiritual Discipline habit. Or so we think! When you lift the veil, you find every human experiences moments of discouragement. 

My favorite part of every user manual I have is the quick start. I enjoy looking at the pictures and finding out how I can speedily put my product together so I can start using it. You can’t always do this when reading books but I want to offer you some quick tips to encourage you as you start building your spiritual discipline habit: 

Ask God to help you • When trying to connect with God, ask Him for help. God will speak to you and He will give you the strategy you need to make spiritual discipline work in your daily life. 

Start small • Everyone has a spiritual superhero. Someone I admire prays 4 hours a day. I can't begin to tell you that I would love to do that too. The reality of my life is: I work full-time, I have a small business, a wonderful husband and three marvelous kids. These are not excuses, these are facts of my current existence. Starting small means starting where I am. My way to start small is to pray before everyone wakes up. Once the kids get older, I bet I'll be able to carve more and more time to pray. Should I reach my 4-hour prayer goal? I'm sure it would be wonderful. The beauty of starting small is connected to the heart. God looks at the heart, not at the number of hours we are trying to pile up in prayer to impress him or someone else. He sees our lives. He wants us to simply come to Him as we are. 

Ask a friend you admire how they make it work • I often ask like-minded people about their spiritual discipline habits. You can ask a mentor or a friend. I remember asking a pastor how she made time for God when her kids were little. It was encouraging to learn from her experience. There are people out there who are seeking God and pressing on to know Him. Ask them questions. 

Got interruption from kids? Ask them to join you! • John Wesley's mom is a pioneer in this area. She trained her kids to know that when she had her apron on top of her head, they were to give her space because she was praying. She was also very particular about her kids’ Christian education. If your kids are interrupting you, ask them to join you during your spiritual discipline time. The word of God is for everyone. Kids receive the truth of God with joy. There is nothing wrong with exposing kids to what you read in the Bible as well as letting them hear your prayers. Remember, more is caught than taught. Thank God I heard the prayers of my parents! I'm living the answers right now! How would I know this unless my parents involved me in their devotional life? 

Set an alarm • If you have a problem remembering to set aside time for spiritual discipline, set an alarm as a reminder. When the alarm sounds, grab your Bible, get on your knees and get in God’s presence. Soon, this will become a habit and you will not need the alarm. 

Start with 5 minutes and increase the amount of time slowly • If spending time in Spiritual Discipline is a foreign concept to you, start with praying and reading your Bible for 5 minutes a day, then increase the amount of time slowly. The goal is to slowly "taste and see that the Lord is good." This slow introduction will lead you to desire more and more time with God. 

Join a group • Encouragement is the main benefit to join a group. When I joined a Bible study group, I was encouraged to study the Bible on my own. I was also surrounded by people who like me, wanted to spend time with God on a regular basis. The group can't do Spiritual Discipline for you but they can encourage you in your journey. 

Read a book • There are wonderful books about studying the Bible, prayer, and fasting out there. I often read books related to each spiritual discipline. Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster offers great insight. He will stretch your thinking in this area too. How do you get good book recommendations in this area? The books I read are recommended by my mentors. The books I read really helped me pursue God with more passion and joy. Books are tools. The Bible is my main textbook. God is the One I seek to know, worship, and serve with joy. I need to major in His book and minor in every other supplement. 

Teach what you learn • The best way to master a subject is to teach what you learn. If you have kids, teach them about spiritual discipline. If you have friends, tell them about what you are learning. If you are a Sunday School teacher, teach your students. I know you already have a lesson plan. You can enhance that lesson with the things you are learning from God as you practice Spiritual Discipline. Our faith in Jesus is active. Jesus always taught many things. 

We need to teach others too. It doesn't take a degree or an actual classroom. We are called to spread the good news of Jesus by simply teaching what we learn. Teaching can be as simple as a conversation with a friend who is feeling stuck in her devotional life. "Have you thought about reading the entire Bible?" is something I often ask. Then I tell her why she should do that. If you want to know God, you need to read His Book. How should a person read the entire Bible? I recommend a 15-minute Bible reading plan. I'm encouraging you to teach what you learn because what you know will grow. 

Don't let yourself get lazy • As a Bible lover and teacher, I hear people sometimes say they get lazy with their Spiritual Discipline. Getting lazy is the same thing as knowing you have to sweep a room and you don't do it well. We’ve all seen it. There's dirt in the corners. The broom did not cover every square inch available. You still have a dirty room because you didn’t clean as well as you were able. Getting lazy is different than getting discouraged. The lazy person will crack their Bible open. 

They'll check the reading on her to-do list. They will go to Bible Study and complain that the reading is boring. The solution is not to let yourself get stuck in that place. When you feel yourself getting to that place, ask God to help you. Tell Him how your heart feels. You basically say, "restore unto me, the joy of thy salvation." God will answer your prayer and give you Divine direction. 

Reading the Bible is not supposed to feel like an amusement park ride daily. It is also not meant to be boring. As you ask God for direction, He promises to lead you and guide you in the way you should go. God will challenge your mind and your understanding of His word. He will take you deeper than before. It is up to you not to let yourself get lazy and continue in the most rewarding journey you can have on this side of life. 

I sincerely hope these tips can help you. Be encouraged in your Spiritual Discipline my friend! Try any of these and see what you will discover. One thing I know for sure, God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. He will be found by you my friend.